Port City Java Grows Again

By Liz Biro, posted Feb 5, 2014
A new downtown Wilmington store, an Oleander Drive relocation on the way and a fundraising campaign to benefit University of North Carolina Wilmington athletics signal expansion for Port City Java.

The Wilmington-born coffee chain in early January opened its 18th Cape Fear-area Port City Java cafe, this one inside Cape Fear Community College’s new Union Station building, 502 N. Front St.

Meantime, Port City Java is preparing to move its 5917 Oleander Drive store not far away to a former Dunkin’ Donuts location at 5709 Oleander Drive, Port City Java CEO Steve Schnitzler said.

At its UNCW store in Randall Library, launched in November, and other area locations, Port City Java is offering a $10 reusable travel mug marked with the school’s logo.

Proceeds from sales of the mugs will benefit UNCW’s athletics. Get a free cup of coffee when you buy the mug and 25 cents off any 16-ounce beverage when you use the mug for a Port City Java order.

The company also is looking at expanding its roastery.

“We’re staying busy. We’ve got a couple of projects still in the works. We’re not sitting still. We’re back into a growth mode,” Schnitzler said, referring to development happening as the nation’s economy continues to recover from a recession.

One surprising note about both the CFCC and UNCW cafés is the amount of business they seem to have generated or retained at nearby Port City Java locations, Schnitzler said.

The UNCW café, the chain’s second-busiest location overall after a N.C. State University shop in Raleigh, appears to have stirred a 20 percent increase in business at the nearby 132 Racine Drive Port City Java.

“It’s actually provided more brand penetration,” Schnitzler said.

Downtown, the CFCC café has hardly impacted sales at two other Front Street stores – one a block away, the other two blocks ways, he said.

“It is remarkable that Wilmington is supporting this many Port City Javas,” Schnitzler said.

Port City Java purchased the former Dunkin’ Donuts building where the Oleander Drive location is going, Schnitzler said. The new spot provides more visibility, easier access for motorists and a roomier and more streamlined drive-thru service, Schnitzler said.

Bakery operations will be based at the new store, as well, he said. That cafe is scheduled to open in spring, probably May, Schnitzler said.
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